Reviews

CableJive dockBoss air

I have this little gadget and I love it. It allows me to play my iPhone’s music to my Bose Sounddock, untethered, via Bluetooth. It’s super convenient and easy to use.

Wireless Bluetooth Music Receiver for audio docks made for iPhone 4/4S including, iHome, Bose, Logitech, JBL, Phillips, Sony, 30-pin iPod/iPhone speaker dock. Wireless range 33 feet, 10+ meters (free space). No batteries, no maintenance. Powered by the dock you connect it to. Uses the Bluetooth A2DP protocol to easily stream your audio.

Buy it here: CableJive Wireless Bluetooth Music Receiver Adapter for Bose SoundDock and other iPod and iPhone Audio Docks including iHome, Bose SoundDock, JBL, Logitech, Sony and other 30-Pin Audio Docks for Wireless music. Connect dockBoss air adapter to your speaker dock and control your music from your phone up to 30 ft. away.

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Reviews

Hardware review: CableJive duaLink sync splitter cable

The duaLink sync splitter cable, made by CableJive, allows you to connect two iPods, iPads or iPhones from a single USB port. This is particularly useful for laptop owners, who may not have a lot of ports on their machines.

Here’s a closer look at the cable itself.

And here’s what it looks like with two iPods connected to my MacBook Pro.

Finally, here’s what things look like in iTunes.

It’s a straightforward product that I think many of us could use. It costs $25.95, and you can get it directly from CableJive.

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Reviews

Hardware review: the duraSync cable for iPad, iPod and iPhone

I’ve been using the duraSync charge and sync cable for the past few months, and I love it. It’s a durable, solidly-made, premium cable that replaces the stock sync cable which ships with your iPad, iPod or iPhone, and it’s made by CableJive, the same company that makes the SoundDock and iStubz cables.

The cable is really sturdy, and it’s made to last. It comes with a Lifetime Warranty, so if anything should ever go wrong with it, you can send it back to CableJive for a replacement.

It has a stiff rubber outer shell and an impact-resistant plastic core. The dock connectors will withstand crushing, banging, dropping and being stepped on, even driven over with a car. The cable itself is made of durable wire, with heavy-duty shielding and a clear coating. It will withstand pulling, jerking and being run over.

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Thoughts

Why can't I use AirTunes from my iPod or iPhone?

For those of us with an AirPort Express, this question comes up at some point: why can’t I play directly to it from my iPod touch or iPhone, using the same AirTunes technology that is available through iTunes?

apple-air-tunes

After all, an iPod touch or iPhone has WiFi, and AirTunes works through WiFi. If I can do it from my Mac, it stands to reason that I should be able to do it from my iPhone, doesn’t it?

Apple iPhone 3G

Instead, we get a hamstrung app like Remote, which is neat, but somewhat pointless. Think about it: you’re using a device which already has your music library stored on it (iPod touch) to play and control the same music, stored on your computer. Why the middleman? Why not go direct?

apple-remote-app

Sure, the Remote app is useful in the living room, if you also have a music library stored on your Apple TV. You can then control the playback of that music or videos without using the Apple Remote, which has a much longer battery life, is smaller, and much easier to use… eh, wait a minute, that doesn’t sound like it’s better, does it?

Given Apple’s commitment to the environment, I have to wonder why they insist on using the laptop or desktop machine when it’s not necessary.

apple-environment

I realize using AirTunes to play music directly from the iPod touch or iPhone will drain the battery much faster than playing the music through headphones or through a dock connected to a speaker, but hey, we should at least have that choice, right?

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Thoughts

How about a real Apple TV (an Apple tablet)?

Ligia and I were watching cartoons in bed this morning, on my laptop, and I realized Apple still hasn’t capitalized on the opportunity to create a real Apple TV. Here I was, after having ejected my external drives, disconnected the laptop from its peripherals, taken it off its stand and put it on our bed, when all of this could be handled very simply with a larger iPod — a combination iPod/Apple TV/Apple Cinema Display.

Try as I might, I just can’t watch movies or video content on my iPod. The screen is too small, even though I have an iPod touch. It has no speakers, so I have to use headphones. Clearly, Apple has the technological know-how to put together a really nice Apple TV that’s not yet another box tethered to a TV in the living room, but a display with integrated speakers and the circuitry that allows it to get on my network and access media from various drives, or to play the media I sync to it through iTunes, or to download media from the Internet. And yet, it’s content to charge people for small fry (iPods, hamstrung Apple TVs, etc.) when it comes to personal entertainment devices.

Just think, with a nice LED screen of about 13-17 inches, a touch screen, plenty of onboard storage, a good battery, WiFi, Bluetooth, and speakers, they could have an amazing device that I could take with me wherever I decide to sit in the house or in the yard. I could take it in bed and watch movies without draining my already tired laptop battery, I could take it outside on the patio at night to watch stuff there, etc.

Apple already has all of this technology. Why don’t they put it together?

They have the LED displays already, in their laptops and in their Cinema line.

led-cinema-display

They have the touch screen capabilities, from the iPod and iPhone.

ipod-touch

They have the media playback capabilities and other circuitry from the Apple TV.

Apple TV

They have the amazing batteries from the MacBook Pro line.

new-apple-batteries

The speakers are also from the MacBook Pro line, and they’re some of the best small speakers on the market, if not the best.

macbook-pro-speakers

People talk about an iTablet, but I’m not really sold on the idea. Yes, if you put all of these components together, you could have an iTablet, but what I want is a larger iPod, or rather a usable, untethered Apple TV with a nice, built-in display and decent battery life. It could look something like this (and no, this isn’t a rendering, it’s a screenshot from Apple’s own website).

itv

Take away the stand, and imagine a nice iPod-like bezel around it, so you can grab it in your hands and hold it. Perhaps it could have some sort of leg that folds out to let it stand on its own, too. This is what I’m looking for. An iPod I can actually watch, anywhere.

Images used courtesy of Apple.

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Hardware review: CableJive's iStubz cable for iPod and iPhone

In May, I mentioned CableJive’s new iStubz sync cable in my review of their SoundDock cable, which I’d purchased last year, and I was contacted by Zack, one of the folks at CableJive, who offered to send me an iStubz cable for review. In the interest of full disclosure, please know that the cable I received was a review sample that I got to keep.

Would I have bought one otherwise? Yes. I think that at $7.95 for the 7cm size or at $8.95 for the 20cm size, these cables are a great deal. They fulfill a real need for those of us with iPods and iPhones — namely the need the declutter our desks. They’re much shorter than the standard sync cable that ships from Apple, they work just as well, they’re made from the same materials — thus, they’re perfect for quickly connecting our Apple peripherals to our laptops.

I got my cable in late May, and have been using it ever since. I opted for the 20cm size. I packed my old sync cable and put it away from the very first day after that. It’s useless to me now. The iStubz cable is much more convenient to use, and in terms of design, it comes closer to Apple’s design philosophy than Apple’s own cable.

The cable I have can be seen the right side of the picture shown above, or in the two photos shown below. The longer cable, the one used to connect the iPhone to the laptop, is the 20cm one, and the shorter cable, the one used to connect the iPod to the laptop, is the 7cm one.

I had some issues with the sturdiness of my 1st gen SoundDock cable, as you can see if you read my review of it, but these iStubz cables are nothing like it. These are mass produced and very likely made to the same quality standards as the Apple sync cables. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re made by the same manufacturer.

I took a couple of photos of my own to show you the difference between the iStubz cables and Apple’s standard sync cable. While I’ll agree that sometimes it’s better to use the standard sync cable, such as when you have a desktop computer with USB ports on the back, in most situations, the iStubz cable is all you need to connect your iPod or iPhone to your laptop.

CableJive's iStubz cable

CableJive's iStubz cable

If you want to buy the iStubz cable, you can get it directly from CableJive.

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Reviews

CableJive SoundDock and iStubz cables

Back in 2008, I bought a SoundDock cable from CableJive, which allowed me to connect my 1st gen Bose SoundDock to my Mac. Since we bought our SoundDock, Bose has come out with a 2nd gen SoundDock, which has a built-in auxiliary input, making the cable unnecessary. Still, we weren’t about to buy a new SoundDock when ours was working perfectly well, and with the addition of a cable, we could make it work with our Mac, allowing us to have nice, premium sound.

cablejive-sounddock-cable1

I remember looking around for months for a cable that could do the trick. I knew it was technically possible, but no company I knew of made such a cable. Finally, I discovered CableJive. Back then, they were just going into business, judging by their website and lack of customer service. After placing my order, I got no confirmation whatsoever. I had no idea whether they received my order or not. The phone number they listed on the website wasn’t working, and nobody answered my emails. Thankfully, the cable arrived in the mail a few days later, and has been working ever since.

The build quality of the SoundDock cable leaves something to be desired though. The sleeve that fits around the cable at the end that has the thick, iPod-style adaptor is loose, and the plastic that contains the circuits that make the connection with the Bose SoundDock isn’t anchored well into the sides of the adaptor, making it flop around in there. Overall, I’d call the cable flimsy, and considering the price we paid for it at the time ($48), overpriced.

I can only hope their build quality has improved since then, and I’m glad to see that at least they’ve lowered the price to $40. It’s still a hefty price to pay for a flimsy little cable, but like I said, no one else makes them, and if you’ve got to have it, you’ll pay the price or go without.

Now I see they make these iStubz cables, which are basically short sync cables for the iPod and iPhone. The ones that ship with the phone are too long for most people’s needs, cluttering up one’s desk. I like the idea, and I also like the price ($8).

cablejive_istubz2

cablejive_istubz

Now here’s my question: why is the iStubz cable, which is more complicated to make (I assume) than the Bose SoundDock cable, only $8, and the SoundDock cable $40?

Images used courtesy of CableJive.

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Thoughts

Mobile version of site now available

If you happen to browse my site via a mobile device like an iPhone or another web-enabled smartphone, you will automatically see an optimized version of the site that downloads and navigates a lot faster than the regular version on your mobile device.

This was made possible by the folks at MobilePress, who’ve put together a wonderful (and free) WP plugin. My thanks go to them, to Digital Inspiration for writing about them, and to Chris Nixon for sharing that post through Google Reader for me. That’s how I found out about it.

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Lists

Condensed knowledge for 2008-03-20

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Lists

Condensed knowledge for 2008-03-15

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